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Bulldogs Look to Continue Strong Start in Big Apple

Ryan Brady (photo by Alexandra Schmeling)
Ryan Brady (photo by Alexandra Schmeling)

Elis' Younger Runners to Lead Way in NYC

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Coming off a thrilling second-place finish at its season-opening Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet last Friday, the Yale men's cross country team will head to The Bronx to take part in the 20th annual Iona Meet of Champions on Saturday. The Bulldogs competed at the Iona Meet for the first time since 2009 last season, finishing second overall behind nationally ranked Iona. The meet is of special importance to the Elis because it is run on the same course—Van Cortlandt Park—as the Division I NCAA Northeast Regional Championship, held later this year, and it thus serves as a key tune-up race. While this year's field has not been officially announced, last year's meet included the likes of Army, Boston College, Brown, Fordham, Navy, Northeastern, St. Joseph's and UMass Lowell.

Yale got its season off to a strong start against Harvard and Princeton last Friday, easily defeating the Crimson and falling to the nationally ranked Tigers by just a single point. The team's top five in the race was mostly composed of accomplished veterans. Junior Kevin Dooney—who qualified for the NCAA National Championship in 2013—ran an impressive 24:26.2 to finish first on the team and second overall. Another junior, Duncan Tomlin, broke his personal record by nearly 20 seconds to finish second on the team and fourth overall. Sophomore James Randon and senior and team captain John McGowan, meanwhile, placed fourth and fifth on the team, respectively. One of the most exciting results of the season opener, however, was the third-place team finish of freshman Cameron Stanish, who also placed fifth overall in the race.

Saturday's Iona Meet, however, will feature a different group of runners, as much of the team—including Yale's top six runners from the season opener—will rest this weekend.

"I'm looking to have the younger guys get some experience in the historic Van Cortlandt Park and to lead the team this weekend," said Head Men's Cross Country Coach Paul Harkins. "They're a great group of younger guys, and I'm confident in their ability to shine for us this weekend."

Even with Stanish resting, two other freshmen—Adam Houston and Hale Ross—will be athletes to keep an eye on both in New York and as the season progresses. Ross, a Washington, D.C., native, finished seventh on the team against Harvard and Princeton with a time of 25:19.9. Houston, from Seattle, placed eighth on the team with a time of 25:39.7. With many of the upperclassmen taking the weekend off, this impressive freshman duo figures to lead the team in New York.

Among the other runners to watch for on Saturday is sophomore Spike Sievert, who was one of 10 Bulldogs to crack the 26:00 mark in the season opener. Last Friday's meet was the first cross country competition of Sievert's collegiate career, and he will look to continue improving this weekend and beyond. Freshmen Ryan Brady and Casey Celestin will similarly be competing in their second collegiate cross country meets, after recording times of 26:01.0 and 26:06.7, respectively, in the season opener. Junior Max Payson will also be in action in New York, looking to build on his time of 26:52.8 from last weekend. Payson—an accomplished 1,000-meter and 1,500-meter runner and relay participant for the Bulldogs' track and field squad—will be competing in just his second cross country meet since joining the team this season.

Saturday's race is slated to begin at 10:15 a.m. A course map is available here. Full results will be posted on after the end of the meet.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity